The costly film sank as the release in theaters was cancelled.
The history of cinema is littered with examples of films that never made it to cinemas for very different reasons, and one of the most curious cases that fits this category is Empires of the Deep. Originally, the feature was the dream of John Jiang, a wealthy Chinese real estate magnate who was fascinated by James Cameron’s Avatar and its use of 3D.
This is how the businessman put 130 million on the table – and then in the trash: Working as a screenwriter in his spare time and writing fantasy and science fiction stories, Jiang has a prolific imagination – Empires of the Deep While creating the story, he felt he had enough material to make not one, but three films.
Originally titled Mermaid Island, the story takes place in ancient Greece, where a mermaid queen tries to save her father and, incidentally, her underwater kingdom.
Chaos in the international team and production
Website atavist Absolutely chaotic conditions were reported behind the scenes of the film’s production. Supposedly, a Chinese-American co-production would attract big names like Irwin Kershner, who is none other than the director of The Empire Strikes Back, but did not work on the film’s origin story.
The director believed that Jiang’s original idea of making a film about an ancient mermaid kingdom, would not work for a wider Western audience. Instead, he offered Jiang a modern science fiction story in which a group of individuals accidentally stumble upon an underwater realm. But Jiang turned down the idea, which led to Kershner’s departure.
At least four directors will be involved in the project: Jonathan Lawrence, Michael French, and Scott Miller, in addition to Frenchman Pitoff. However, things were amiss from the start, as reported by Jonathan Lawrence when filming began in January 2010.
The filmmakers were surprised to see only 20 extras for the recording of a scene where 500 were planned – and they complained about not being paid. Several Western actresses were approached for the title role, including Monica Bellucci and Sharon Stone, before Olga Kurilenko was finally cast, who had appeared in 007 – Quantum of Solace and won $1 million for the role.
But the actress couldn’t do anything to save Empires of the Deep from sinking completely. Filming began even before the script was completed – coincidentally, a script, which was distributed with great difficulty, had at least 40 different versions. The first 3D trailer was shown during a press conference in Beijing in April 2010 which featured the actress.
In October 2012, new photos emerged, showing significant improvements in digital effects. But for the visual effects that were intended to be raised to the level of Avatar, a lot would need to be improved.
looking for distributors
In 2014, Jiang hired Steven Spielberg’s favorite editor, Michael Khan, to handle his film. Looking for an American distributor, Jiang’s hopes were dashed shortly after a performance sony pictures in Los Angeles. Between the shoddy special effects and the threadbare plot, everything was a disaster.
In January 2016, another trailer for the film featuring improved CGI was released on a crowdfunding website. The producers then sought 1 million yuan (R$680,000 today) to help complete the film, setting a release date of April 2016 – the money was never raised.
Bottom line: Empires of the Deep was a project that vehemently dragged on for nearly six years, $130 million went up in smoke, no distributors, and ousted actors and actresses who were never paid. Was.